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Oregon Football

Wednesday pressers: defensive trio

November 18, 2020

Oregon’s defense has shown hints of ‘bend don’t break’ through two games and will look to sharpen up ahead of facing UCLA, a team that is surely feeling confident after a convincing win over Cal last weekend. Three members of the Oregon defensive backfield met with the media on Zoom Wednesday to reflect on the road win over Washington State and discuss the adjustements they’ve been making while preparing for the UCLA offense.

Bennett Williams 

On journey to Oregon

It’s been a long journey. Worth every second. Started at Illinois, after some complications left my sophomore year. Went back home to junior college at San Mateo. There was a focus on discipline and culture there. It was a perfect segue to get here. It was always a dream to play with Cyrus (Habibi-Likio).

On his improvement 

Physicality is something I’ve always had and continue to work on. On the technical side, coverage skills and man-to-man skills are something I’ve been working hard at. Diagnosing the offense.

On playing time being available

We all knew there were no guarantees of who plays--guys out one week, guys have to step up. We didn’t want any drop offs. I’m always ready to play. You have to prepare like you’re the starter.

On preparing for UCLA

We’re gonna get a good mix of run and pass. They’re an explosive team, they have a lot of playmakers and we’ll need to adjust to that. 

On effect of playing a dual threat quarterback

It’s another guy you have to account for in the run game. He’s a legitimate threat to run. With the scramble drill that shows up a lot. We have to lock onto receivers and not give him the chance to throw to players as he extends with his feet.

On db’s response to no turnovers 

We havent gotten as many turnovers as want as a defense. Certainly aren’t getting discouraged. We have to focus on making more plays and finishing at the ball. Certainly in practice this week we’ve been flying around, focusing on securing the ball. Focused on putting the ball in the endzone to create offense. 

On preventing explosive plays

We’re 2-0 so we’re gonna find a way to win those games. (Limiting) Explosive plays are an emphasis for us, limiting those breakdowns in coverage and playing as perfect of a game as we possibly can. 

Verone McKinley 

On key to dime package success

We emphasize situational awareness. Being able to play with different personnel. Having guys that can cover and stop the run. 

On sitting out first half 

I wanted to stay involved. I was coaching on the sideline. Making sure everyone was on the same page. I was trying to be a helping hand. Use my mind to help guys on the field.

On stopping Dorian Thompson-Robinson

For us its going to take everybody. D line needs to close pocket on him. DB’s need to stick guys like glue. 

On Bennett WIlliams 

He’s a true football player. His instincts are something that shine. He is a good tackler, great at blitzing, and he can cover. Being another versatile guy in the secondary helps us all. 

On Jamal Hill

Jamal is getting comfortable and he’s growing. He’s being a sponge. He’s played great

On atmosphere playing at WSU and Autzen

For a second it was kind of weird in the first game. We pride ourselves on bringing our own juice. We brought our own juice. We came out in the second half and played how we knew we could play. As long as we do that I think we’ll be fine.

Jamal Hill

On his experience this season

It’s been fun. Definitely a learning experience each game. Trying to get better each week. 

On who’s mentored him 

Definitely Verone, Nick Pickett in the secondary. Jordan Happle. The older guys are showing me the ropes. They tell me to keep going with the game and plays will come. 

On playing in dime package

It’s fun across the board. We feel like we do what we need to do and the outcome will be what it is. We stop people. That’s our whole objective.

On when he found out about starting

I found out probably one of the first practices after Jevon announced he’d be going to the league. They told me it’s that time. Next man up.

On seeing the staff’s plan for him as a recruit to now

It’s everything they told me it would be. You wait your turn. You learn. And you show them you’re ready. I feel like i’ve done that. Going with the process.

On game slowing down

It’s slowed down a lot. The way we practice is almost harder than the game. Watching film and knowing what’s coming.


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